Nancy Warren Ferrell

Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Longtime Juneau resident and Alaska pioneer Nancy Warren Ferrell died April 10, 2009, at her home in Juneau after a long battle with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. She was 76.

She was born Aug. 23, 1932, in Appleton, Wis., to Carolyn (Schael) Burg and Harry Warren. After graduating from high school in Wauwatosa, Wis., she went on to receive a bachelor's degree in psychology from Lawrence College. She loved her college experience, made many lifelong friends there and was a member of Delta Gamma.

Upon her graduation, her mother, Carolyn, who had recently moved to Juneau, sent her an airline ticket to Alaska. Nancy moved to Juneau in the summer of 1954 and found her lifelong home. Soon thereafter, she met C. Edgar Ferrell, and the two were married on March 3, 1955. Nancy and Ed became parents to twins, Patricia and William, in 1966.

Her family said she was passionate about life and had many interests, but her greatest satisfaction came from writing. She published nine nonfiction books for young readers and four nonfiction books for adults. Her last book, "White Water Skippers of the North," was published shortly before she died.

In addition, she had published numerous articles and stories in a variety of magazines and periodicals. She received many local, state and national honors for both her writing and her efforts to foster literacy, her family said. She also was extensively involved in reviewing books and acted as an editor for several publications.

Professionally, she practiced psychology in Juneau and then in Provo, Utah, while Ed obtained his college degree. She taught children at the BIA hospital in Mount Edgecumbe, volunteered at the Capital School Library and worked at the Juneau public library. She also volunteered for many years putting together the newsletter for the Friends of Juneau Libraries.

She loved fishing, Alaska and exploring the world. She traveled every chance she could, journeying to Europe five times (including to Russia and Turkey), twice to Australia and New Zealand and most recently to the Galapagos Islands.

She was always happy to return home and tried to never miss the Golden North Salmon Derby, her family said.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Carolyn Burg and Harry Warren; step-parents, Amos Burg and Elsie Warren; and brother, Thomas Warren.

She is survived by her husband, Edand Ferrell; children, Patricia and William Ferrell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

At her request, a celebration of her life will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. June 13 at the El Sombrero restaurant.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or to Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.

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